Is my favorite
It roils beneath the surface
It tells me that I ****
It tells me that I am worthless
It tells me that I should die
That I NEED to die
It feeds upon the dark things that I think about myself
When it hungers too deeply,
It explodes outward
exposing it’s hideous face
But mostly I can contain it under a façade of intellectualism and superficial positivity
But it is always there
Waiting to be fed
I am not ill
How am I responsible for your illness?
I am free
How am I responsible for your imprisonment?
How am I responsible for your struggles?
I am content
How am I responsible for your disquiet?
I am my own master
How am I responsible for your servitude?
I am disciplined
How am I responsible for your chaos?
I am strong
How am I responsible for your weakness?
I am resilient
How am I responsible for your fragility?
I am faithful
How am I responsible for your infidelity?
Like my faults
Are my own
And yours are yours
When minor acts of defiance
are guilty pleasures,
You are not free
Acts of freedom in a changed world
It’s a glass half full
It’s a light in the distance
It’s the rising sun
It’s being away from home and hearing the language you speak
And it’s a dollar you find lying on the street
It’s 8 and a half yards on a third and 9
It’s a small tug on the end of the line
It’s writing a poem and finding a rhyme
And it’s the day she said, “Yes”, she’d go out with you one more time
It’s the half an hour before the exam
It’s the gallon of gas to get home
It’s when success follows success and you know
that you can do it alone
It’s finding a flashlight that works
And driving to the beach in the rain
It’s an all-night diner
And New Year’s champagne
It’s a homemade dinner
A dog’s wagging tail
It’s a small act of kindness
in a world of fails…
Yesterday we bumped along dusty farm roads together
Yesterday the packing shed was a beehive of activity
Yesterday I was the ring bearer in his wedding
Yesterday all of the cousins splashed in his apartment swimming pool,
fearing the wrath of the mean man
in number 9.
Yesterday I saw him at the pier
Yesterday we went fishing
Yesterday he barbecued tri-tip and we reminisced over old photos
Yesterday he cheered for the Giants and the 49ers
Yesterday he laughed until tears rolled from the corners of his eyes
Yesterday there was a tomorrow to look forward to…
I cannot go home.
Rather I cannot go where my family lives - that place ceased to be home some time ago.
I was a soldier during the Cold War and my neighbors there have become more like East German loyalists than American citizens.
They surrender their rights without question
They are eager to call out community members on social media for ‘social distancing violations’.
They use shame and ridicule to control others
They applaud the police for keeping children from playing in gigantic public parks
They trust politicians who ignore public defecation and drug use to look out for ’the public good'
They allow themselves to be labeled ‘essential’ and ’non-essential’
They carry ’traveling papers’ in the event that they are stopped by the police
They propagate the most inflammatory statistics without ever validating their veracity.
They heard it on CNN.
So I will remain 1098 miles away
Until the contagion subsides
And then I’ll return
To a completely different world.